As New York Times Claims Trump Jr. Has Russian Connection, We Must Set Aside Politics

The increasingly partisan nature of politics in the United States should worry us all. We cannot allow ourselves to be corrupted by partisan issues.

The New York Times has alleged that Donald Trump Jr. Junior met with a Russian lawyer who has strong connections to the Kremlin. Apparently, the meeting was setup to potentially pass off damning information regarding Hillary Clinton. This information, in turn, was (again, allegedly) coming from the Russian government itself.

The allegations are serious though perhaps overblown. These days, politics is a dirty game and both Democrats and Republicans are almost certainly guilty of using shady, underhanded tactics. Regardless, as we continue to examine Russian influence into our political system, we must remain neutral, sober, and dedicated to uncovering the truth, not scoring political points.

An enemy of your enemy is not always your friend. You might not like Hillary Clinton. I never hated her with the same passion as many people seem to, but she was not my ideal choice for President. Regardless, we can’t allow our dislike for an opponent as an excuse to fall into the mechanizations of one of our chief rivals. This is an affront to the United States, our democracy, and our national security as well.

There are serious allegations floating around that various members of the Trump Administration have collaborated with and are tied to Russia. Whether or not these allegations are true, and whether the activities are as nefarious and serious as alleged, remains to be determined. When it comes to political issues, partisan aims often corrupt what should be a neutral and sober investigative process.

The increasingly partisan nature of politics in the United States should worry us all. We cannot allow ourselves to be corrupted by partisan issues. Any investigation into the Trump administration should be carried out solely to discover the merit of the allegations, and the truth of what happened. This is a complex issue, and it’s easy for people to develop blind spots, especially if they count themselves as liberal or conservative, and view people with other views as their “enemy.”

Russia Needs to Be Treated and Respected as  a Rival

Russia is not our friend. They are, at best, an uneasy ally on various issues. More realistically, they are one of our chief rivals and in a multi-polar world their interests will often clash with ours. Remember, Ronald Reagan -arguably the father of the modern Republican Party- viewed the Soviet Union as America’s arch-nemesis.

The collapse of the Soviet command-economy states put an end to the Soviet Union. However, Russia emerged as a powerful heir, armed with Soviet nuclear missiles and other powerful if aging weapons platforms. Meanwhile, Russian ambitions throughout Eastern Europe, Central Asia, and elsewhere fall roughly in line with previous Soviet ambitions.

Further, while the Russian economy now is more market-driven,  widespread corruption and the growth of powerful, politically connected crime syndicates, mean Russia is still far from a member of the “free world.”  Ultimately, Russia may not be the near-diabolical antagonist that Reagan’s Soviet Union was, but it is still a competitive and dangerous rival.

Would Russia try to influence our elections? Probably. The United States has tried to sway elections on multiple occasions throughout history. So too did the Soviet Union, and modern Russia as well. This should come as no surprise, getting favorable or at least friendly officials in office is one of the biggest “victories” a world power can secure.

Did Russia try to interfere in the 2016 election specifically? Almost certainly. And most likely, Russia has meddled with past elections as well. Mind you, Russia doesn’t even need its favored candidate to win, it just has to sow discontent and anger among voters and Americans as a whole. Doing so will weaken us as a nation.

Did Donald Trump collaborate with Russia? That remains the most important question, and the answer is far from proven. Right now, there’s a lot of smoke, but we still haven’t seen any fires. If we dig deep enough, we will almost certainly find some links between Russia and the Trump administration, but was there any willful coordination, or was Russia simply trying to manipulate things behind the scenes? These two scenarios are vastly different.

In these regards, we do have to discover the truth. This process of discovering the truth should remain objective, neutral, and should concern itself only with facts, not politics and scoring political points. Russian mechanizations in the internal affairs of the United States could pose a serious threat, and every American should put country before politics.

Brian Brinker

Brian Brinker is an OpsLens Contributor and political consultant. Brinker has an M.A in Global Affairs from American University.

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